Todd Paris on Incumbent City Council’s “Teamwork, Cooperation, and Bridge Building”, “Positivity”, and “Resisting Contentiousness”

Posted on October 15, 2017

Todd Paris, Salisbury Attorney and Candidate for Salisbury City Council

♦ I noticed an increasing mention among incumbent cabal city council candidates and like minded cabal newbies the abuse of words and phrases like “teamwork”,”bridge building”, “cooperation.” “positivity”, “resisting contentiousness”.  Nice sounding pablum on the surface.  Wouldn’t it be won-der-ful if commissions, councils and boards could work together without disagreement or divisiveness and come to the correct decision? Like the Polit Bureau in Stalin’s Russia? (He disagrees? Shoot him) Remember these words: “correct decision.”  Do I hear brakes squealing in someone’s mind?  “Correct decision”.

Think back ten years ago to a Salisbury City Council team with no divisiveness or debate who saddled this city with over thirty seven million dollars in debt to plunge our city into the municipal broadband Fibrant Debacle.  Could we all climb aboard “Mr. Peabody’s way back machine” and go back ten years and get at least one of these council persons to stop or modify this decision! Maybe they could hold off a few years and see how other municipal broadband fared? If they still wanted to do it, maybe they could be convinced to just start a pilot project downtown and expand into neighborhoods where 90% of the residents would first agree to sign up.

Now that 10 year ago non-divisive “team,” by unanimous vote, saddled us with tens millions of dollars of debt. The losses from the general fund now run about 3 million dollars per year and it will not be paid of till around 2029. The last time I ran the math every Fibrant subscriber is subsidized to the tune of $75.00 per month while we charge a fee for poor kids to swim at the municipal pool. Everyone who wants it and can afford it has it and sales are flat. This money could have been used for so many other things and now, ten years later, the private Internet companies provide equivalent or better service at lesser price. One of them doesn’t even have a contract.

While in the “way back machine” maybe we could pen a letter in the media advising Downtown Salisbury, Inc. to vote against current Council member Brian Miller’s idea to buy the Empire, which cost us almost one million dollars over the past ten years and kept DSI on the verge of bankruptcy ever since. Think of how DSI might have been able to use that money to promote downtown business and protect downtown merchants from the revolving door of failure and closures. I heard this week that Sweet Meadow Cafe is for sale now with hopes for a buyer. I would have told the city the Empire had a bad phase one environmental report! Wait, that was kept secret back then.

You can be sure that if I get elected, I will debate with the other council members in public, force items that need to be debated on the agenda, answer questions from the media truthfully that I will fight to keep bad decisions from being made. If you are a regular reader of the Rowan Free Press you already know that I don’t mind hurting someone’s feelings if it’s necessary for the good of the taxpayers. Open debate, arguments, and disagreements among council’s and commissioners are how transparent government bodies are supposed to come to the “correct decision.” The local leaders I have come to admire are those leaders stuck down at the ends of the table like Craig Pierce and Kenny Hardin and sometimes David Post and Mike Caskey are willing to battle to stop a bad idea even if it’s a 4-1 vote.

If three council members decide they want to build a monorail from Salisbury to Spencer you can be sure citizens will know about it. I will go down fighting and you will not likely find me “pitching” the idea at the next Chamber of Commerce meeting in the name of cohesion and cooperation.

Jeff Watkins Birthday Party at the “Perfect Smoke”:

By the way I had a wonderful time last night at Jeff Watkins Birthday Party at the “Perfect Smoke” on Lee Street. The “Perfect Smoke” is a niche store success story in beleaguered Downtown Salisbury. A lot of folks had a ball last night. Here are a few snaps from Jeff’s Birthday Party and of the “Perfect Smoke”

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